Sunday, November 17, 2013

TIME MACHINE ... 1893, 1977, 1892, 1893, 1964

(Reader-friendly viewing of newspaper archives material)

January, 1893
(New York Times)




CRISFIELD, MD., JAN. 14- The amphibious little town of Crisfield down here at the bottom of the Eastern Shore of Maryland is watching with interest an industrial experiment now going on in Tangier Sound. Crisfield is a mere upstart town, scarce(ly) thirty years old in the midst of a region peopled for two and a half centuries. It was named for its founder, the venerable John W. Crisfield, perhaps the oldest practicing lawyer in the United States, whose home is at the ancient village of Princess Anne, and whose son, named Page and not Crisfield, recently resigned his seat in Congress to become a Judge in Maryland.

The town of Crisfield is founded, not upon a rock, but upon a bed of oyster shells, thrown into a salt marsh, and it grows by driving piles and pitching in more shells by way of a firm and dry foundation. In this fashion it has slowly marched out into the shallow waters of Tangier Sound, until it seems a shabby little Venice. Not long ago Crisfield, although surrounded by salt water, was the driest town on the American continent, for in addition to a merciless prohibitory local-option liquor law, it was visited by droughts, during which there was not a drop of drinkable water to be obtained from the wells. At such times water from other places was hawked about the streets by the pail full, and some otherwise well-meaning folk were forced to violate the local-option liquor law. Crisfield is relieved now from at least one species of thirst, for an artesian well 1,300 feet deep is pouring daily 150,000 gallons of excellent water into the town, and when a larger pipe has been sunk this supply will be increased about ten-fold.

Crisfield is not only founded on a bed of oyster shells, but its whole life and business depend upon the oyster trade and kindred industries. Wherever the eye rests it falls upon the white of bleaching oyster shells. The little harbor bristles with the mast of oyster boats, and nine-tenths of the inhabitants are occupied offshore. Within sight of the town there are terrapin to be caught, water fowl to be shot, and thousands of fish to be seined, while Crisfield is the world's one great mart for the sale and shipment of soft-shell crabs.

Just off Crisfield and lying between Tangier and Pocomoke Sound, with Cedar Straight connecting the two bodies of water, are Big and Little Fox Islands. The name of the group is deceptive, since it numbers not two islands but seven. It did once number two, and old deeds, running back into the seventeenth century, as Eastern Shore deeds have a fashion of running, employ this nomenclature. The restless tides of the region have, however, cut the two islands into the present seven. They vary in size from five acres to eighty acres, and the larger islands are channeled with muddy salt water inlets and notched deep with salt water coves. The group lies, indeed, so as to include an almost completely land-locked cove sixty acres in area.

But oysters are only one of the possibilities of this island principality. The islands are about 450 acres in area and the largest of them, Crockett's Island, has 25 acres of rich land, upon which fig trees, among other things are now flourishing. This island was for 150 years the home of the Crocketts. The oyster farmer bought it from the last of the family, and the dwellings on the island long ago fell into ruins. The ragged remnant of a doll's sun bonnet was found among the old timbers the other day- pathetic reminder of a time when there were children and children's joys on this deserted patch of land.

But the area of fertile land on Crockett's Island suggests another possibility. The fig lives outdoors all Winter in this region, and spring comes warm and early. The island lies, in fact, in one of the richest market-gardening areas in the United States. Already asparagus and other choice vegetables have been planted on the island, and within a few years all its available area will be turned into a market garden to help feed hungry thousands in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. The seaweed washed ashore on the island makes an excellent fertilizer, and how far the other islands may be available by its aid for market gardening is an interesting question.

Crisfield watches with interest the experiment on the Fox Islands, because the oyster farmer's possessions lie just in the midst of the debatable land, or water, where many oyster wars have occurred.

April, 1977
(The Daily Times- Salisbury)


The Maryland Department of Transportation has committed more than $143,000 in federal funds for highway safety improvements throughout Maryland.

Worcester- $2,900 for police radio equipment for the Berlin Police Department and $1,300 for hand-held radar equipment for the Pocomoke City Police Department.


April, 1892
(Hamilton Daily Democrat- Hamilton, Ohio)

The President Not at Home

Washington, April 8- The president (Benjamin Harrison), accompanied by Mr. George W. Boyd, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and T.J. Parker, left Washington last night for New Church, Accomack county, Va. The president will return here either late Saturday night, or Monday morning.


August, 1893
(The Denton Journal)

To be Built of Brick

The town council of Snow Hill has decided that only brick buildings should be built in the business portion of their town. This action is approved by a majority of the people of the town. The people are recovering slowly from the effects of their late disastrous fire, and contracts have been given out for a number of buildings to replace those burned. The First National Bank will be rebuilt at once, and upon the same plan as the one burned.


February, 1964 (Time Machine archive)

Winners were announced in a contest in which high school students in Worcester County vied for honors for bringing in Civil War relics. Pocomoke High School winners were: Mike Bloxom placing first for an 1858 Colt .44 revolver; Jack Tatem, second, with a Springfield rifle and a Civil War era postage stamp; Melissa Jackson, third, with a Civil War sword that was used by her great-grandfather. The contest was jointly sponsored by the Worcester County Historical Society and The Maryland Civil War Commission.


Do you have a local memory to share with PPE readers.. such as a big snow storm, a favorite school teacher, a local happening, something of interest your parents or grandparents told you about? It can be just a line or two, or more if you wish. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!

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